lies's Halo 3: ODST (Xbox 360) review

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  • lies has written a total of 9 reviews. The last one was for Halo 3: ODST

From Bungie With Love

 Right off the bat, let's get one thing straight here. Halo 3: ODST is a Halo game-- more specifically, Halo 3 with some slight tweaks. The core gameplay is all still here, just as strong as it's always been. If you've never been a fan of Halo's style of gameplay however, ODST is not going to change your mind. Some periphery elements have been changed, but at the core there is little different in ODST that will attract new players. That fact might seem elementary, but it's important to remember; while there's a huge segment of the gaming population that loves Halo, there's an equally large portion that can't stand it. ODST will not convince those people who hate Halo, but it will seem like a love letter to people who are already fans, especially those who have dug into the expanded universe outside of the main Halo trilogy.  
 

 These are some hardcore dudes
This time around you'll be dropping into the boots of an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper (or ODST if you like) for your time in campaign. These are the crazy elite human soldiers who drop into battle from ships in orbit- second only to Spartans in the UNSC. Halo 3: ODST focuses on a specific squad of ODSTs (voiced in large part by the cast of cult-hit TV show Firefly) who are part of a larger force dropping over the city of New Mombasa right before the Prophet of Regret leaves Earth-- an event we previously saw from the Master Chief's point of view during Halo 2. You'll be playing mainly as " The Rookie" a trooper who gets knocked out for six hours following the drop. Waking up at night, it's your mission to explore the open-world city and try and find evidence of your team's fate. To do this The Rookie must find objects left behind in the city by other ODSTs-- locating one of these will trigger a flashback mission where the player can take control of the earlier events and actually play out what happened to that particular trooper. It's a mechanic that works fairly well, with a melancholy, dark hub world for the Rookie to explore, and linear, traditional Halo missions for the flashbacks. The dichotomy between the two approaches can be occasionally jarring, but it allows for some interesting nonlinear storytelling and allows player to catch a breather between missions.
 
Outside of the main campaign, there's the Firefight survival mode which plays more or less like the recent Horde mode in Gears of War 2-- four players hole up and try to last as long as possible against unending waves of Covenant troops. ODST's unique twist on the mode is in the skulls; as the game progresses, different skulls turn on, modifying the difficulty by
 One of the new maps on ODST's multiplayer disc is Heretic, a remake of Halo 2 classic Midship
doing things such as doubling Covenant health or increasing the frequency with which they throw grenades. It's an interesting way to keep the onslaught from getting stale, but it's unfortunate that there's no way to play without skulls for those that just want a vanilla survival mode with no complications. The other multiplayer component is the competitive multiplayer, which as been ripped right out of Halo 3- it even earns you achievements for Halo 3. This resides on a separate disc, and includes all of the Halo 3 maps made available as DLC so far in addition to three brand new maps. It's not a bad bonus, but people picking up ODST are likely to already have some or all of these maps, reducing some of the value of the second disc.

 ODST is supposedly an expansion to Halo 3, but in practice it feels more like a throwback to the days of Halo: Combat Evolved, a game many hardcore fans still hold up as the best of the bunch. Playing as an ODST presents a few significant differences from how the Master Chief controlled in Halo 3. ODSTs have a few new toys: a night vision mode called VISR, a new scoped SMG, and a scoped silenced pistol that feels awfully familiar to the beloved Halo: CE iteration. Of course, it's not all fun and games as ODSTs can't do anywhere near everything a Spartan could- they can't dual-wield, can't use equipment, can't jump as high, and have a layer of health which requires health packs to heal if you take enough damage. Franchise veterans will notice the similarities to Halo: Combat Evolved right after reading that list- the gameplay has been reverted to mostly what was in Halo: Combat Evolved, with the conceit that an ODST can't perform the insane feats Master Chief was able to do by the end of the trilogy. This is a fantastic change and definitely helps differentiate this expansion from the base game, although it's still recognizably Halo.
 
 Warthogs. Brutes. Grunts. HALO.

And that's really the key-- ODST tries some new things and does them well, but it's still recognizably Halo. No matter what people may have wanted or expected from this product, it's a Halo game, for Halo fans. But for being that, it sure manages to be the best experience possible for Halo enthusiasts. Players will see Covenant Engineers, slated to be in the original Halo but cut due to time constraints. Players will finally get to have that open, explorable urban warfare in the city of New Mombasa first teased in the Halo 2 E3 demonstration. The Office of Naval Intelligence is explored further in depth. Players actually get to experience an orbital drop from first person. Hell, Bungie even brought back the guys who produced the ilovebees ARG to make another radio drama- unlockable through finding audio logs hidden throughout the city.
 
Halo 3: ODST is just more Halo. For many who want a new direction for the series, that's a bad thing. It is what it is, and what it is is packed full of love, attention and care from the developer, who tailor-made the experience for exactly what longtime fans of the series- the players who would be interested in this game- would want. It's a love letter to fans of the series, but unfortunately, it's not going to make anyone new fall in love.
12 Comments
Posted by Karmum

I find this review to be legit.

Posted by Claude

Great review, have no intention of buying. I failed at Halo and Halo 2, repeat, I failed at the game.

Posted by Oni

Great review, am thoroughly enjoying ODST.

Posted by Dudacles

This review delivers, and is more than worthy of being featured on the front page. Congrats.

Posted by sdauz

great opinion, if u love halo you will like this game and if u don't you probably don't care about this game, simple as that

Posted by Metroid545

don't agree at all witht the score but very good review nonetheless

Edited by Tru3_Blu3

Great review. I thought the same way when playing ODST. There's no way in the world anyone would transition their views from love to hate when playing it. It plays like Halo3. It is Halo3... kind of.
 
Who knows. Maybe Halo Reach will change their views, knowing that it will have a different engine and original gameplay mechanics.

Posted by ImperiousRix

Just picked this up today, and I'm really super engrossed with the story and flow of the campaign.  The orbital drop, although it only took a minute or so, was intense and overall, the game conveys mood and emotion a lot better than its predecessors. 
Great review.
Posted by sirkibble23

I like this review.

Posted by SteveMason99

Mentioned many thoughts I had when I played this :)
Posted by Gamer_152

I've seen so many people focus on the negative aspects of Halo 3: ODST and blaming the game for being something it's not trying to be, it's nice to see someone who really understands why this game is so appealing to fans of the Halo universe. Awesome review.

Moderator Online
Posted by MajorBrusselsXI

rubbish

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